X's and O's

Here is a breakdown, by unit, of how the Giants performed against the Cowboys.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning allowed the ball to slip out of his hands as he attempted a throw on third-and-13 from the Giants' 26 early in the second quarter. WLB DeMarcus Ware recovered Manning's fumble at the Giants' 16. Manning wasn't aware enough of the play clock on the previous play, either, which backed the Giants up five yards after a delay-of-game penalty. Bottom Line: The Giants easily overcame Manning's three turnovers.

RUNNING BACKS

RB Brandon Jacobs broke through three tackle attempts on a 12-yard touchdown run through the left side of his line that gave the Giants a 28-7 advantage early in the third quarter. Jacobs broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage, completely changed direction three yards up the field and outran four Dallas defenders for a 25-yard run that brought the Giants to the Cowboys' 27 late in the second quarter. The Giants went ahead 21-7 five plays later on Manning's 11-yard touchdown pass to WR Amani Toomer. Bottom Line: They rushed for 200 yards, and averaged 5.9 per carry.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

WR Plaxico Burress seemingly ran the wrong route on a second-and-7 play from the Giants' 19 near the midway mark of the second quarter. Burress' mistake gave LCB Mike Jenkins an easy interception that he returned 23 yards for a touchdown that cut the Giants' advantage to 14-7 at the 8:38 mark of the second quarter. TE Kevin Boss's footwork near the front corner of an end zone enabled him to sneak in for a 13-yard touchdown catch that helped put the Giants ahead, 7-0, at the 8:47 mark of the first quarter. Bottom Line: Their stats weren't overwhelming, but they were effective.

OFFENSIVE LINE

RT Kareem McKenzie pounced on Smith's fumble at the Giants' 22, just before halftime. A Dallas recovery would've allowed the Cowboys, down 21-7, at least a reasonable FG try prior to intermission. RG Chris Snee's block on MILB Bradie James created the space Jacobs needed to change direction on his aforementioned 25-yard run late in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Only two of the Cowboys' four sacks of Manning were their fault.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Hustling NT Barry Cofield got to RB Marion Barber first, before LDE Justin Tuck dropped him on a screen pass that lost 12 yards early in the third quarter. The play pushed Dallas into a third-and-19 predicament from its own 11. Tuck, lined up at RDT, fended off a double team by LT Flozell Adams and LG Cory Proctor to drag down QB Brad Johnson for a 10-yard sack on a third-and-7 play from the Dallas 32, the first of the second quarter. Bottom Line: They sacked Dallas QBs four times.

LINEBACKERS

MLB Antonio Pierce's strength and technique enabled him to rip the ball out of falling WR Terrell Owens' grasp at the Giants' 10 early in the second quarter. FS Michael Johnson recovered the fumble at the Giants' 6, which prevented Dallas from cutting into the Giants' 14-0 lead. Bottom Line: They were instrumental in limiting Dallas to 81 rushing yards.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

SS James Butler's balance and coordination helped him intercept QB Brooks Bollinger's pass intended for TE Jason Witten on the second play of the third quarter. Butler's pick gave the Giants the ball at Dallas' 18, two plays prior to a 12-yard touchdown run by Jacobs that helped the Giants to a 28-7 lead. RCB Corey Webster read the play perfectly, caught Brad Johnson's slightly overthrown ball to WR Terrell Owens, spun around and raced 57 yards down the Giants' sideline with an interception in the first quarter. Webster brought the ball back to Dallas' 27 and the Giants moved ahead 14-0 on Manning's 5-yard touchdown toss to WR Steve Smith with 41 seconds to go in the first quarter. Bottom Line: They shut down Dallas' passing game.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Only one of P Jeff Feagles' four punts was returnable, but WR Domenik Hixon and MLB Chase Blackburn limited WR Patrick Crayton to a 6-yard return. Three of Feagles' four punts landed inside Dallas' 20, too. RB Ahmad Bradshaw failed to bring back any of his three kick returns more than 20 yards. Bottom Line: These units didn't hurt the cause.

COACHING

Their three-receiver alignment on the right side of the field allowed Toomer, Burress and Hixon to cross up four Dallas defenders, which left Toomer open in front of Jenkins on his 11-yard touchdown catch. Aligning Tuck at different positions proved to be effective again. Bottom Line: They manhandled a depleted Dallas team to create more separation in the division standings.


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